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Secondary comp sets and grammar

(17 Posts)
newtothis15 Mon 16-Sep-19 06:24:55

I am just trying to understand - if there are sets in Year 7 (children are set for Maths, English, Science, RE, Geography, History and MFL), would this mean that the top set would work at a standard of a grammar school? Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
TheBrockmans Mon 16-Sep-19 06:35:00

Depends on the school intake really and the type of grammar school. A good comprehensive with a large motivated intake and no nearby grammars probably would. A poor secondary modern next door to a good grammar school would struggle to find enough students of that ability to work at a grammar pace. Some 'comps' select by other means such as faith and have thriving top sets because the 11 plus is a blunt instrument taking a screenshot of one day in a child's life and so there will be an overlap.

It is also worth considering which school will suit your dc most. Some will thrive on being towards the top of a top stream in a comp, and often the top stream are well looked after in that situation. If though they tend to be lazy and can't be bothered it would be easier to drop down the forms in a comp than be chucked out of a grammar school.

SansaSnark Mon 16-Sep-19 06:44:13

It does depend on the school, but in a non grammar area, then they are likely to cover all the same content. If some students are getting 9s at GCSE then this shows the top set is probably being stretched to a similar level to students at a grammar school.

BelindasGleeTeam Mon 16-Sep-19 06:47:13

Top sets in my classes in my old school definitely comparible to grammar school.

That was somewhere which was relatively well off and with grammar areas nearby, and independent school.

newtothis15 Mon 16-Sep-19 06:47:38

Thank you. I am looking at faith selective school, no grammar in the area. When you say that the top stream is well looked after - is it because they need to deliver top results?

OP’s posts: |
brentwoodbaby Mon 16-Sep-19 06:53:53

It massively depends on the school. We have 4 grammars nearby (2 girl/2boy) and 2 faith schools. There is one outstanding non-selective that produces very good results where my friend's DD seems to be working at the same pace as my DD (she's at the grammar) whereas another friend's DS who if anything was much brighter at primary than my DD (didn't take his 11+) has started trailing behind despite being 'top set'.

Despite all being the same ability in Y6 their predicted grades for maths are 7, 7, 5.

TheBrockmans Mon 16-Sep-19 06:55:08

Yes they need to deliver good results if in competition with a grammar school. It sounds though as if it is a desirable school in a non grammars area so say if there are 5 classes then the top set will be top 20% so equivalent to grammar school taking top 20%.

BertrandRussell Mon 16-Sep-19 07:00:23

Not sure if I understand the question. But if it helps, wholly selective authorities like Kent do not have better overall results than comparable comprehensive authorities. So grammar schools don’t get better results for top set type kids than comprehensive schools. I hope that makes sense. (Ironic after my opening sentence!)

TeenPlusTwenties Mon 16-Sep-19 08:19:58

In a good comp bright children will do just as well as in a grammar.
Good comps can produce straight 9s or straight 9/8s. They just won't get as many of those as grammars because they have a more mixed intake.

FanDabbyFloozy Mon 16-Sep-19 09:39:08

I would be concerned about a school that sets in such a wide variety of subjects from day 1 of year 7. What would that setting be based on?
For instance, one of mine flunked the first RE lesson in secondary as was nowhere near the standard of kids coming from religious primary schools. One year later, she is top of the RE class. Would this be possible in the OP's school?

TheBrockmans Mon 16-Sep-19 09:56:39

Although to be fair FanDabbyFloozy that is what you get with a grammar school. Setting based on a performance in one test in yr6 on Maths, English and reasoning. I certainly wouldn't get my child to take a long journey to a neighbouring county each day for a grammar school (if that is the decision) compared to a good nearby comprehensive school.

Allington Mon 16-Sep-19 10:23:45

'The findings show that grammar schools in England take only a tiny proportion of pupils who are or have ever been eligible for free school meals... and those they do take have been eligible for fewer years. The researchers say this is important because pupils’ attainment in Key Stage 4 has been shown to decline with every year they are on free school meals...

The study also showed that pupils attending grammar schools, on average, are far less likely to have special educational needs and are less likely to have English as an additional language. They are also much more likely to be older in their year group, to live in more affluent areas and they are more likely to be of Chinese or Pakistani origin. Once these differences are accounted for, grammar school pupils attain about the same as equivalent pupils in the rest of the country.

www.dur.ac.uk/education/news/?itemno=34151

clary Mon 16-Sep-19 11:44:16

If there is no grammar school in your area I don't really understand what you are asking? All the children (or pretty much all) who would have gone to a notional grammar will be at the comp, presumably in top set.

No doubt they will work to a high standard. Ds2's biology group which was top set at his fairly mixed ability comp gained 10 grade 9s so I think that's pretty good (I happen to know this cos the amazing teacher told him! but I thought that wasn't a bad ratio, a third of the top set getting the top grade).

FanDabbyFloozy Mon 16-Sep-19 14:05:21

@TheBrockmans agree with that.

But my point is more that while setting for maths and English might be okay - as every child has done both to set standard for 7 years - it seems weird to set from y7 in brand new subjects like MFL and subjects like history and science where provision will be more spiky depending on the primary school.

clary Mon 16-Sep-19 14:18:49

I used to teach MFL and we set one year in yr 7, using English sets IIRC. It was definitely much better than teaching mixed ability yr 7. It's about ability to grasp stuff and work hard rather than specific skill in MFL. There weren't masses of disastrous errors (I had sets 2, 5, 6 and 8 of eight).

We always used to set fromtr 8 onwards, hen one year we changed again and had mixed ability yr 8, what a nightmare that was (and incidentally the year I left).

steppemum Mon 16-Sep-19 14:24:44

In all the comprehensives around us, they do not set for all subjects.

So maths and English have sets (although one school sets for nothign and another doesn't set for English, only maths)
There is some natural selection, so anyone who needs learning support in English does not do an MFL, and once you get to GCSE, then science has sets because of 3 sciences v. 2.

The lack of setting was one reason we went for grammar in the end.
So I would say you need to look at the school, and ask. And also it was the more unexpected schools that did not set, so don't make assumptions.
If they are set, then yes, top set should work at same level as a grammar.

Interestingly, I have heard that the evidence is that all students do better in things like history if you have mixed ability classes. All that is except the top 10%.

steppemum Mon 16-Sep-19 14:44:39

also worth ponting out that in the comps around us, every single one has vacancies in key subjects, so kids are not taught by subject experts. In some of them the vacancies persist into the GCSE classes.

I recognise that this is becuase the town is not desirable place to live, so teachers are not drawn here. But what I am trying to say is that it varies enormously from place to place and school to school.
In the town 30 minutes drive away, the comp is excellent, and teaching staff much more stable

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